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Garden plants you must prune in December as gardens enter dormancy period

Garden plants you must prune in December as gardens enter dormancy period


Seasoned gardeners recognise that there are still essential tasks to be performed during the winter, with a focus on caring for trees and shrubs that may require pruning.

While the idea of pruning in December may not initially seem appealing, the reality is that it can offer important benefits to certain plants.

The efforts put into winter pruning can lead to enhanced displays or improved harvests in the coming year, but it’s important to remember that not all trees and shrubs are suitable for pruning this month.

Pruning grape vines is best done during their dormancy period, and the timing depends on whether they are grown indoors or outdoors.

For indoor cultivation, such as in a greenhouse, the optimal period for pruning grape vines is early winter, typically completed before Christmas.

Read more: Lawns will be permanently damaged if garden pro’s important task is not followed

Indoor grape vines tend to start their active growth earlier than those outdoors, so pruning later than December can lead to the flow of sap from the cuts, a process known as bleeding.

This not only weakens the plant but also attracts pests that may carry diseases. Therefore, to avoid these issues, it’s advisable to prune indoor grape vines during their dormant phase in early winter.

Pruning wisteria is a biannual task, typically performed in the summer after flowering and during the dormant period in winter.

The winter pruning phase typically occurs between November and February, with December being a suitable time for this task. During winter, when the wisteria has shed its leaves, it becomes easier to identify where to prune.

For those cultivating wisteria, the majority of pruning is carried out in winter, as this season is ideal for reshaping the plant, trimming back the growth from the previous summer to two or three buds, and removing dead, diseased, or damaged branches along with any suckers.

It’s worth noting that December pruning is suitable for individuals in warmer climates without extremely cold winters. In colder climates, it may be prudent to wait until January or February to prune wisteria.

Pruning pear trees is typically done when they are dormant, and the leaves have fallen, which is during the winter months.

Similar to apple trees, the pruning of pear trees can be performed anytime from November through early spring.

Ornamental varieties in the Rubus genus are grown for their flowers and foliage, rather than for their berries like raspberries or blackberries – examples include the likes of Rubus odoratus, known as the flowering raspberry, or Rubus ‘Beneden’, which is popular as it does not have the thorns of most Rubus. 

Ornamental brambles should be pruned after flowering, however, winter is also an ideal time to rejuvenate the shrub if you have not got round to trimming yet.

Cut back around a quarter-to-a-third of the oldest flowering stems right to the ground. This will encourage new younger and more productive growth to replace those stems and also let more light and air into the centre of the plant.



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